Stargate SG-1: A Matter of Time and The Fifth Race
Stargate SG-1 – Season Two – Episode 15 – A Matter of Time
A friend of mine, who I used to watch Stargate with all the time (and whom I was unable to enjoy Stargate Universe with…), cited this episode as the scariest, freakiest episode of TV he had ever seen. It really got into his mind.
SG-10 is running toward the Stargate on a planet that appears dead. They look terrified, freaked out, and begin dialing the Stargate in earnest. They connect to Stargate Command, but no one walks through. Stargate Command dials back to the planet, and discovers that they had dialed into a planet that was about to be consumed by a black hole. SG-10 is apparently stuck in time, as time slows down to a crawl near a black hole, so from their perspective, the Stargate was dialed for a brief moment, and they are now essentially flash frozen between the Stargate shutting off and their attempts to start dialing again. SG-1 and the rest of the SGC can see the expressions of utter terror on SG-10’s face through the MALP’s digital images; terror frozen in eternity as they are being torn apart.
Meanwhile, Earth is starting to experience severe gravity and time distortions from having dialed into a black hole. They can’t disconnect, because while time may be flowing normally on Earth’s end, time is slowed to a crawl on the opposite end. On Earth, the farther away from the Stargate you get, the more time returns to normal. This allowes General Hammond to fly to Washington and back while a mere 15 minutes passes by in Stargate Command. Carter and Washington’s scientists determine that a controlled explosion into the Stargate would cause the wormhole to reset and jump to another Stargate away from the blackhole, similar to how O’Neill and Carter were sent to the other Stargate on earth way back in season one.
The SGC is evacuated, and O’Neill and his former commander in Iraq, Cromwell, volunteer to send the nuclear warhead into the Stargate and explode it. O’Neill is pissed at Cromwell for leaving him behind during a mission in Iraq, which ended up landing O’Neill in an Iraqi prison for a couple of months. But from Cromwell’s point of view, O’Neill had been killed, so the evacuation was ordered. The two argue it out, but keep the matter on hand first. Using tethers, they both lower themselves sideways into the extreme gravity of the black hole coming through the Stargate. Cromwell’s rope breaks, sending him hurling into the Stargate to his death, and O’Neill manages to explode the nuclear warhead, severing the connection and saving Earth.
Great science fiction episode, and great character building episode for Jack O’Neill. This is one of the few episodes he is not joking around, because the leader of SG-10 is a personal friend, and then when his former commander shows up on orders from the Pentagon, things just get more serious.
And to my friend’s credit, the image capture of SG-10 stuck under a black hole is pretty unnerving. Thinking too hard about something like this, similar to the concept of Hell, would drive you slowly insane. But it makes for great stories.
Allegedly there are two books that deal with future SG-1 attempts to rescue SG-10 from the black hole; I may have to hunt those day someday.
Carter: Sir. By some fluke of Stargate technology, we are witnessing something that the laws of physics say we can’t possibly witness.
O’Neill: We are witnessing good men die in slow motion, Captain.
Stargate SG-1 – Season Two – Episode 16 – The Fifth Race
Another episode with events that repeat multiple times throughout the rest of the Stargate franchise.
While exploring a planet, Jack O’Neill somehow trips an invisible wire that triggers the appearance of a device in the wall. Looking into this device, it suddenly expands and grips Jack’s whole head, while bright lights and swirls of color appear before his eyes. Breaking the connection, Jack collapses, and SG-1 brings him back to the SGC.
Back on Earth, Jack begins acting…even more oddly than normal. He suddenly starts speaking ancient Latin; starts doing drawings of strange devices; solves some complex mathematical equation that baffles Carter; begins crafting weird devices; odd stuff like that. Over time, Jack loses the ability to speak English, and only speaks some ancient language that Daniel has to learn to translate. Turns out Jack is speaking the language of the Ancients, the group who originally built the Stargate. The device that grabbed Jack’s head was a respository of knowledge that dumped all of their knowledge into his head, yet his brain can’t handle it.
Using his new knowledge, Jack manages to save SG-1 who went on a mission without him. A second sun had appeared on the planet, and was going to roast SG-1 alive, and the DHD was stuck mid-dial on the planet. Jack manages to jury-rig some contraption that allows SG-1 to dial home. Going even more crazy with knowledge, Jack creates a new power device that he rigs into the Stargate which allows him to dial an unpreceded ninth chevron, sending him out of the galaxy. When he arrives, he is on an Asgard ship, and the Asgard help him by removing all the Ancient’s knowledge from him. The Asgard says Earth has a long way to go before they can form an alliance, but one day, humans may be one of the top races in the galaxy.
So many plot threads are set up going forward. For instance, we discover more of these knowledge repositories and use them. Jack and the Asgard develop a friendship that pays off significantly, and we find out who the other races are that are made up of the ancient alliances. And of course, the ninth chevron, which while requiring an enormous amount of energy, sets up many story points through Stargate Atlantis and of course Stargate Universe.